Best Hidden Tattoo Spots For Discreet (or Secret) Ink
Hidden tattoos might be a necessity or a creative outlet that still allows you to cultivate an air of mystery using your ink. There is a multitude of reasons why someone might prefer getting hidden tattoos. Having no visible tattoos can be advantageous for employment if you work in a profession where tattoos still carry a stigma or must be covered up. Visible tattoos are not permitted in certain professions – like banking, healthcare, law enforcement and education. If you work a job in one of these fields, some secret ink is the perfect way to express yourself without risking employment or any stigma surrounding these long-standing regulations. Discreet tattoo placements are also beneficial if you want to hide tattoos from your parents, family members or more conservative authority figures, such as a professor or a boss (as long as you get your tattoo, legally, at age 18 or over). Outside this traditionalist framework, you may simply enjoy having a hidden tattoo because it feels exciting to keep this secret ink out of most people’s purview.
Expert Tip: Zensa Numbing Cream contains 5% lidocaine for maximum-strength pain reduction during your tattooing session. Many artists don’t like most tattoo-numbing creams because they include vasoconstrictors, which temporarily alter your skin texture, disrupt ink settling and can ultimately distort the final look of your piece. However, Zensa Numbing Cream does not contain any vasoconstrictors, providing a more pleasant tattooing experience without worrying whether some temporary relief will ruin the ink’s vibrancy or the look of the final piece. Our unique vegan, cruelty-free formula won’t affect ink settling and contains vitamin E for anti-inflammatory benefits that begin to support the healing process even before you leave the studio chair.
Read on to discover our top 15 best hidden tattoo spots that are easy to cover up for work, school, family functions or any environment where your ink is ideally not on display.
Back of The Neck Tattoos
Placed on the nape of your neck, these tattoos are equally suitable and discreet for men and women. Back-of-the-neck tattoos are easy to cover by letting down longer hair and thoughtful wardrobe choices, like wearing a collared shirt or a turtleneck. These tattoos tend to be small, so the pain is short-lived – especially if you opt for a minimalist style tattoo. Fine linework is your friend if you’re seeking to keep your ink discreet. When searching for neck tattoo ideas and inspiration: Consider line art, script and lettering or a stick-and-poke tattoo done in white, grey or black ink for a crisp, refined and versatile look. The neck is a highly sensitive area, which makes it one of the most painful places to get a tattoo. Back-of-the-neck tattoos rank at a 9/10 on the pain scale.
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Behind The Ear Tattoos
Behind-the-ear tattoos are considered to be one of the best hidden tattoo spots for women or anyone who chooses a longer hairstyle. Wear your hair down or accessorize with a hat (preferably a beanie, balaclava, trapper or bucket hat) to keep these tattoos out of sight. For maximum discretion, opt for a minimalist style, blackwork and black and grey style tattoo and small tattoo designs placed higher up towards the hairline. Some of the most popular tattoo ideas for behind the ear include designs featuring hearts, scripted lettering and nature-inspired motifs. The backs of your ears have a thin skin texture that covers the posterior auricular nerve and is highly sensitive (it is one of the most erogenous zones on the body, after all). Due to this sensitivity, behind-the-ear tattoos can be among the most painful tattoo placements you can get. Behind-the-ear tattoos generally rate at a 9/10 on the pain scale.
Back tattoos are easy to keep hidden for work and any setting that doesn’t involve tanning, swimming or wearing an open-back dress. With a lot of surface area available, the sky is the limit with the creativity available when searching for the perfect back tattoo. Popular back tattoo ideas include a large piece between the shoulder blades, patchwork tattoos and a full back piece (which may or may not be accompanied by a spine tattoo). Back tattoos (on the upper and lower back, not the spine) tend to be moderately painful and rank at a 5/10 on the pain scale. Some back tattoo inspiration is below to give you ideas for different arrangements.
Spine tattoos prove that eternal beauty is worth some short-lived pain. Many spine tattoos are done in a minimalist, blackwork or line art tattoo style with all of the ink focused on this centerline of your back. For a bolder look, spine tattoos can create a mirror effect as the focal point for a larger piece or centralize a group of patchwork tattoos throughout your entire back. The spine is a very popular area to get inked, despite being the most painful tattoo placement you can get on your back. Spine tattoos rank at a 9/10 on the pain scale. Any back tattoos, including spine tattoos, can take a relatively long time to complete due to the larger surface area getting inked. Use a topical anaesthetic, like Zensa Numbing Cream before getting your spine tattoo to help this lengthy process be less painful.
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Shoulder/Bicep & Upper Arm Tattoos
Shoulder and upper arm tattoos can be discreet and simple to cover for work with short or long sleeves. These tattoo placements are highly versatile and equally easy to cover up or show off, depending on the occasion. Shoulder and upper arm tattoos are simple to hide in professional or more conservative environments, while also being easy to show off in certain, more relaxed settings – like a social event or at the beach – where you feel free to proudly share your ink. Outer arm and shoulder tattoos are considered to be one of the sexiest tattoo placements on men and women. They also are among the least painful tattoo placements one can get. Outer arm tattoos rank at a 3-4/10 on the pain scale. So, even with an intricate design, this ink should not greatly test your pain tolerance – especially if you use a topical anaesthetic, like Zensa Numbing Cream.
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While ink near your collarbones may be difficult to cover up, tattoos that are done lower on the chest are easy to hide under non-revealing clothing. Sternum tattoos, done along the chest plate (aka your breastbone in-between the breasts or pecs) can be concealed with a scoop neckline shirt or dress, a button-down blouse, a crew neck t-shirt or a turtleneck. These chest tattoos are the perfect hidden tattoo option for work or a family function because they will never be seen unless you’re wearing a bikini or an ultra-low-cut neckline. So, you can get as big or bold of a piece as you like while still having a lot of control over who sees your “secret” ink. This tattoo placement is done on a bony area with a thin skin texture. So, naturally, they will be fairly (but not the most) painful tattoos to get done. Sternum tattoos are generally considered to rank at a 7-8 on the pain scale (less painful than a rib cage or underboob tattoo).
This placement is sexy and simple to conceal but not so low on the pain scale. Rib tattoos are done along the rib cage, which gives you plenty of surface area for a minimalist tattoo, a large piece or a couple of tiny designs housed with room for clarity and eye-catching negative space. These tattoos are easy to cover in daily life as any outfit without oversized arm holes or side cutouts should keep this ink hidden. To get some rib tattoo inspiration, consider popular choices in script and lettering tattoo style, singular blackwork tattoos or minimalist designs - inked in fine line work. Rib tattoos rank at around a 9/10 on the pain scale, making the rib cage one of the most painful spots you can get a tattoo.
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Underboob tattoos describe any (single or patchwork) tattoos that extend throughout the rib cage and/or up through the sternum. They can frame your bust (or pecks) or simply highlight a portion of your upper stomach and chest. Underboob tattoos are a great spot to get a hidden tattoo as any clothing (besides a bra top or swimsuit) should keep this ink covered up. Consider getting either one large piece throughout the entire area or a small tattoo focused on one side. Script or lettering tattoos or negative space tattoos, done in fine linework and black ink, under one breast is a popular underboob tattoo choice for a minimalist look. Underboob tattoos can be one of the most painful tattoo placements and rank at a 7-9/10 on the pain scale, depending on the specific location, size and intricacy of your selected design.
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Stomach tattoos are easy to keep covered for work events, family functions or any occasion where you prefer not to wear a cropped top, a swimsuit or go shirtless. This discreet placement can inspire you to get creative with your ink even if you want to keep your tattoo a secret. Patchwork tattoos featuring nature-inspired motifs, such as roses, butterflies and snakes, combined with or without letter tattoos are a popular choice. These tattoos allow you to showcase your personality (without having them on full display) and are usually done in black ink. Stomach tattoos are generally considered to be a moderately painful placement and rank at a 5-7/10 on the pain scale. Clients who are biologically female tend to find stomach tattoos more painful than those who are biologically male.
Hip tattoos are among the best spots to get a hidden tattoo. This air of mystery adds to their alluring nature and explains why hip tattoos are considered to be one of the sexist tattoo placements (holding the top spot for women and sitting at the top behind shoulders, arms and chest for men). Hip tattoos will be undetectable in a professional setting. These tattoos are easy to hide in any cold or winter climate. Most hip tattoos will only be visible in a swimsuit or while wearing skimpier underwear styles. They can be covered up with shorts, a skirt, a dress or any other clothing designed for warmer weather. Common hip tattoo ideas include a small heart, butterflies or a floral tattoo. Script and lettering tattoos are also popular, especially when done in block lettering and black ink. Hip tattoos can be among the most painful tattoo placements that one can get done. Tattoos done directly on the hipbone or closer to the bikini/groin area are going to be the most painful. A hip tattoo is considered to be a fairly painful tattoo placement. They rank at a 7-8/10 on the pain scale and tend to hurt less for biological females than biological males.
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Another sexy tattoo placement that leaves your ink to the imagination. Buttocks tattoos offer the same sensual appeal and pain level as a hip tattoo with more surface area available to explore your creativity (or more easily hide a small tattoo if you prefer low-rise jeans). Blackwork, minimalist and Japanese tattoo styles are common options for buttock tattoos. Many larger pieces include dragon or floral designs that span from the hip bone to all the way behind on one side. Small buttocks tattoo ideas as similar to popular hip tattoo designs: hearts, lightning bolts, smiley faces and lettering tattoos – all done either left opaque or with negative space in black ink. Despite being a fleshy area, this region has a lot of sensitive nerve endings (clenching under stress only increases this tension) and is often considered to be one of the most painful tattoo placements. Buttocks tattoos rank at an 8/10 on the pain scale.
Inner Arm Tattoos
Inner arm tattoos allow you to wear your creativity on your sleeve while still keeping your ink discreet. They can easily be covered with a long-sleeved shirt, sweater or jacket, so your tattoo stays hidden for work or a family function. Even when liberated, your inner arm tattoos still hold an air of mystery and require others to do a double-take before they can appreciate all of the details of your ink. Inner arm tattoos can be on the underside of your upper arm or forearm, depending on your stylistic preferences and desired discretion. Generally speaking, an upper arm tattoo will be easier to hide than ink on your forearm or any area close to your wrist. Inner arm tattoos are relatively low on the pain scale. An inner bicep tattoo ranks at a 6/10, while a forearm tattoo is one of the least painful tattoos to get done – ranking at a pain level of 2-3/10. Inner arm tattoos can be a bit more painful if they sit closer to the elbow.
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Upper Thigh Tattoos
This placement embodies the “hidden but not a secret” mentality. Upper thigh tattoos can be done on the front or side of the thigh and located anywhere between the hipbone and a few inches above your kneecap. The higher up your tattoo sits, the more discreet it will be. Upper thigh tattoos will be covered up whenever you’re wearing trousers, jeans, or a knee-length skirt for a professional setting and any environment where it’s expected to look more buttoned-up. While discreet, you can still show these tattoos off in shorts, a mini skirt, a swimsuit or a dress with thigh-high slits if you please. Consider sensual, minimalist tattoos that work their way up the side of your upper leg or a front-facing, beautiful art piece done in black ink. Upper thigh tattoos rank relatively low on the pain scale at a 4-5/10. Tattoos done over the quads or outer thighs will hurt less than those done on the inner thighs. This placement typically hurts less for biological females than biological males assigned at birth due to their natural fat distribution.
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Ankle tattoos offer an artistic way to adorn your feet that doesn’t draw attention to your ink. This tattoo placement acts like a permanent anklet or sandal embellishment (depending on the piece’s size and location) and is easy to keep hidden when you’re not at home or on the beach. Your ankles are the perfect hidden tattoo spot for work or any function where you feel it’s best to not show off your tattoos. Ankle tattoos are easy to cover up with pant cuffs, maxi skirts, socks, higher-shaft boots or shoes with a thick ankle strap (if you have a smaller tattoo). Bracelet tattoos (which often feature florals, leaves or other nature-inspired motifs) or tiny tattoos (single or patchwork tattoos) are popular ankle tattoo ideas to seek out for inspiration. While dainty, ankle tattoos are one of the most painful tattoos you can get (whether or not it extends onto your shins or feet) because they are done right on the bone where the skin texture is thin with little to no muscle or body fat. Ankle tattoos generally rank at a 9/10 on the pain scale.